Convincing employees to volunteer their time is tough enough in the U.S. But in Romania, a former communist country, the challenge is even greater: Daily life is harsh, 80 percent of the population is waiting for someone else to solve their problems, and volunteerism is seen as “imposed labor.” That makes the success of Petrom’s Employee Volunteering Championship program an achievement—and worthy of Best Employee Volunteer Program in PR Daily’s 2013 Corporate Social Responsibility Awards.
Petrom, the largest oil and gas company in southeastern Europe, employs a workforce of more than 20,000, operating all across Romania. The organization wanted to support environmental sustainability and transform employees into change agents for their communities through volunteering.
The strategy to empower volunteers as agents of change went in several different directions, including:
- Participating in Best’fest, one of the most popular music festivals in Romania (more than 64,000 people attended). During the three-day festival, Petrom volunteers collected 650 kilos of waste and encouraged people to follow their example.
- Producing a music CD with a new local band from the city of Clejani to sell at Petrom filling stations, with proceeds going back to communities.
- Organizing a community fair to collect clothes and basic household supplies in a community devastated by severe poverty.
- Building the first playground in the village of Negrea for more than 300 children to play in.
- Planting more than 3,000 trees across the country.
Overcoming a pervasive spirit of apathy and the feeling that “my contribution doesn’t count,” more than 1,000 Petrom employees got involved in 21 volunteering programs that benefited more than 5,000 Romanians in communities around the country—and brought hope to even more.
Congratulations to Petrom and their PR agency, GMP Public Relations.
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